|Approved by:||The President|
|History:||Issued -- March 9, 2007|
|Last Reviewed -- July 31, 2019|
|Related Policies:||Social Media Policy; Speaking to the News Media Policy|
|Additional References:||University Publicity Guidelines|
|Responsible Official:||Vice President for University Communications tel. (202) 319-5600|
I. Policy Statement
The Division of University Communications is the only office on campus permitted to send out Press Releases or issue public statements on behalf of the University and its administrative and academic units. This policy is intended to define the approved channels and process for delivering University information, news and publicity materials to the News Media.
Staff and faculty who speak to the News Media on their specific area of expertise should review the related University Speaking to the News Media Policy. Staff, faculty or academic or administrative units seeking to invite members of the News Media to campus also should review the Speaking to the News Media Policy.
A. Press Release, also referred to as a news release, means a communication directed at or distributed to the local, national or international News Media for the purpose of announcing noteworthy matters pertaining to the University. Press Releases may be written, recorded or spoken, and may be formal or informal.
B. News Media mean entities or mechanisms for delivering news to the general public or to a targeted audience. News Media include but are not limited to: newspapers; magazines or journals; television or radio stations or networks; and online media, including Social Media.
C. Social Media refer to websites and other online mechanisms or electronic platforms used for sharing or disseminating information, for personal or professional networking, or for other forms of social interaction. Examples of Social Media include, but are not limited to: blogs and other web-based journals; social or professional networking sites (such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn); video or photo sharing (such as YouTube, Flickr or Instagram); and online encyclopedias (such as Wikipedia).
A. Centralized Distribution of Press Releases to the News Media
The Division of University Communications is charged with creating and executing an integrated marketing, communications and public relations strategy for the University, and with developing digital marketing and on-line strategies to promote the University brand. An essential part of the University's media relations strategy includes the creation and distribution of Press Releases about campus events, research, grants, awards, milestones, and priorities of the University leadership.
By channeling the release of information to the News Media through the Division of University Communications, the University is able to maintain a professional, journalistic communication style in Press Releases and ensure a review process that allows for a consistent, appropriate public image for the University.
For the foregoing reasons, the Division of University Communications is the only office on campus permitted to send out Press Releases on behalf of the University and its administrative and academic units.
B. Requests to Produce or Distribute Press Releases
Faculty, staff, or academic or administrative units of the University proposing to send a Press Release or suggest the issuance of a University statement must contact the Division of University Communications. The communications staff and the Executive Director of University Communications will review the request and determine how to proceed based on whether the release subject:
- Is in keeping with the University's mission and strategic plan;
- Is "newsworthy" enough to appeal to the news media or other intended audiences;
- Will produce the desired results; and
- Will help meet University communications and marketing goals.
The Division of University Communications reserves the right to decline the creation or distribution of Press Releases if they are deemed inconsistent with any part of this or any other University policy.
C. Student Organizations
The Division of University Communications does not write or distribute press releases on behalf of student organizations. Some very limited exceptions may be made for University-sponsored events and at the discretion of the Executive Director of University Communications. In such limited instances communications staff will, as time allows, provide student organizations with sample press releases, media contact information and other resources that may be helpful to students working to promote their organizations' events.